Thursday, December 29, 2011
I love the smell of baking bread. It reminds me of Saturday mornings with Grandma K. Watching her knead the dough on the kitchen counter, her arms working and working until the dough turned from floury lumps into glistening rounds. She'd place the dough in the bread pans and set them on the counter to rise, while we went of to the Farmer's Market and Harding's for the weekly groceries. By the time we got home, the bread was ready for the oven. We'd share a pot of tea and cookies while the bread baked.
It was always my job to get the bread out of the pans and spread butter over the crust. The hardest part was waiting for the bread to cool enough to slice. Once, I couldn't resist and dug out warm bread from the bottom of a loaf. Like no one would notice the missing chunk. When picking up the bread to slice, Grandma commented that she must have a mouse in the kitchen, who liked bread as much as I did. No direct accusation, but I knew I couldn't get away with sneaking bread like that again.
So bread... flour, water, yeast, a touch of salt, a bit of milk, maybe some spices or butter. Mix everything together and let it rise and you have a miracle. A lot like living a life. With bread, you have to trust that the yeast will help everything rise. With life, you have to trust. Period.
I have a new little love in my life, as of December 22nd. A tiny 2 lbs, 9 oz baby boy - Aadi. He's absolutely perfect and amazing. Watching his long fingers and wiggly toes, his miniature forehead wrinkling in determination, I pray, and trust, that there's enough yeast to help him grow.
Monday, December 12, 2011
But, I admit, watching the snow fall from inside my cozy house, knowing I don't have to fight the icy roads, well, that gives me a certain sense of joy. There's a quiet that comes over my neighborhood that's so pleasant. And the white carpet that develops over the resting gardens in broken only by flashes of green from the pine tree and my hellebore plants. Gorgeous. These are the first flowers to bloom in the spring, even before the crocuses.
So when the Etsy Bead Embroidery Guild decided on a theme of "Winter" for its first team challenge, I set out to create a necklace that would have the same feel as hellebores in snow. Here's what I came up with:
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Last night, I laid out and glued a bunch of new designs and organized my work drawer. Some are really simple pieces, some more elaborate. I've got several pieces planned around the art glass cabs I've been putting together. So far, all of my Etsy sales have come from art glass pieces. By setting up what I plan to work on during the week, I don't have to think about it when my brain is so clouded up with school responsibilities. And, since I'm headed into a marathon two week research/writing mode, this is really important.
I'm so much happier when I'm doing something creative. I love teaching and researching and writing. I'm excited to work on my thesis topic (Women's History Month) but I need that shift in creativity in the evening, when I can work with color and play with beads. Ahh, balance.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I have lime green beads of all different sizes on order. We'll see how successful I am...
Monday, October 10, 2011
This necklace has a 4" print of "Freya" under beveled glass mirrored by a piece of birch bark under glass, surrounded by seed pearls and seed bead embroidery. Neckpiece is made up of 3 strands: large pearls, beach glass and smoky quartz, and gorgeous lampwork from gubbyrooglass. 16" in length.
For additional pictures: http://www.etsy.com/listing/83583454/beadwork-embroidery-necklace-freya-ebw
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Please visit our team blog, http://www.etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com between the 9th and 15th and vote for your favorite entry.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I’m often asked why I have so many beads. It really is a deeper reason than “she who has the most beads, wins.” J Painting ceramics led me to beads. Over 20 years ago, I was creating a lot of altar pieces, dedicated to different Goddesses and Gods. Very rewarding and I built up a solid clientele fairly quickly. My decorative additions of fur and leather, sea shells and gemstones added a different touch to statues that were commonly available.
Someone gave me a book on beaded cabochons (this was back in the early ‘90s, before there were many bead books available) and I was off and running. It was a way for me to mix my love of gemstones with my creativity, in a more portable – and affordable – way than ceramics. I started making earrings and bracelets for a few shops in Vegas. I sold hundreds of pairs of beaded ankle bracelets, using a Venetian Lace pattern and small bells. (I think I can still make these in my sleep!) Seed beads let me play with colors and numbers. Aware that different colors invoked specific energies and different numbers held different meanings, I became conscious of how these could be used for magical purpose. The addition of gemstones only enhanced the effect. It was like playing and creating with an endless box of crayons!
When I started doing local shows and national festivals, the response to the jewelry was amazing. I would watch a woman’s energy change when she picked up something she liked or was drawn to. Many, many women are hesitant to even try on the jewelry that they like, especially if it’s something that’s a bit different from what friends/family are wearing. While it might be safe to stick with the simple silver chain and charm (and pretty), everyone enjoys a walk on the wild side once in awhile. And because so many of my pieces have been influenced by myths and nature and the divine feminine, I think women instinctively respond to this as well. I know that when a woman allowed herself to play a bit, to try on the pieces that called to her, there was an instant transformation in her energy. There was laughter or a smile. The shoulders straighten, the head goes up. There’s a light in a woman’s eye when she recognizes that she’s beautiful. She’s wearing something beautiful and that beauty is awakened in her.
I stopped doing shows when I went back to college. There just isn’t time to keep up with the demands of grad school and travel all over, doing shows. (And frankly, there isn’t the money.) But my inspiration for making jewelry has only deepened as I’ve focused my academic life on Women’s Studies and Women’s History. Now, I feel like I have a profound understanding and awareness of the cultural reasons why women have such a difficult time allowing themselves to explore and express their beauty.
My health has also taken a hit in the last several years. This summer has been especially tough on me, though I’m hopeful that now that I’ve discovered the reason (hypothyroidism) I can find the correct medical solution. One positive that’s come out of feeling so crappy is that I’ve reconnected with my beads. Once again, I’ve surrendered myself to the colors and numbers and gemstones. And now, with the popularity of beads so prevalent, I can also play with lampwork and glass! In my current narrow world of low energy, lack of focus, painful muscles, and sometimes overwhelming sense of malaise, I can sit and “play” with beads. The beads help me focus, help me to remain connected to something larger than myself. The beads remind me that I have a greater purpose. That my life is connected to other people, to other women. The beads give me hope, feed my determination to find an answer to the medical issues so that I can, once again, feel the beauty within myself and bring a bit of that beauty to others.
I have a busy year ahead of me! Researching and Writing my MA thesis on 'Women's History Month'. Facing my medical challenges - I WILL find a solution to this madness! Teaching - presenting my students the information that can change their lives. Increasing my business presence. PhD apps. I'm hopeful that by blogging, I can stay in touch with everything that feeds my soul, that enhances my beauty. At the very least, I'll have a record of my journey. And as I'm so often reminded, it's not the destination, so much as it's the journey!
Blessings - Skylar
And, to keep track of new jewelry creations, please check out my Etsy site: